Demand Global Media Pay More Attention to Tibetan Self-Immolations

Target: International news outlets

Goal: Provide more high-level coverage of Tibetan self-immolations protesting Chinese rule

The number of Tibetans who have set themselves on fire to protest Chinese rule of Tibet has now reached 100. Since 2009, self-immolation has been used by ordinary Tibetans as well as monks to draw attention to what many Tibetans see as an unjust Chinese occupation of their country.

Tibet was invaded and annexed by China in the 1950s, and their cultural expressions and desire for independence have been severely muted by the authoritarian Chinese government ever since. Tibetans, led in part by their spiritual leader in exile, the Dalai Lama, have never been content to accept Chinese rule passively, and a significant element has long been active in protesting and undermining Chinese rule.

Starting in 2009, Tibetans began to practice self-immolation, or setting oneself on fire, as a desperate means of protesting the Chinese government. Self-immolation has seen use across cultures as a last-resort expression of desperation or protest. It was recently announced that the 100th Tibetan has now self-immolated since 2009, 82 of whom are believed to have died as a result.

Although many of these self-immolations have garnered transitory media attention, no focused effort to cover and understand the movement has occurred recently. Although Tibetan activists and citizens continue to struggle against the oppressive Chinese regime, the worldwide media, normally sympathetic in outlook toward Tibet, has barely covered them. As such, the Tibetans’ self-immolations, precisely intended to be shocking and spur others into action, have gone mostly unnoticed abroad where most of Tibet’s potential support lies.

Sign this petition below to ask the global media to spend more time covering Tibet’s struggle and the self-immolations of their monks and citizens.


Dear international media outlets,

Recently, another Tibetan set himself on fire, making him the 100th Tibetan to do so in recent years. Periodically in international news publications, mentions of these self-immolations occur, but nowhere frequently enough. These activists are resorting to such an extreme measure as setting themselves alight to bring attention to Tibet’s plight, and yet the global media pays them scarce attention.

I am writing to ask that you and your peers do the right thing and lead the way by doing the best you can to provide high-level, in-depth reporting on these self-immolations and the struggle of Tibetans against Chinese rule. I understand that, politically, such reporting can be difficult since China’s government is so hostile towards these Tibetan activists. However, it is precisely for this reason that it is a moral obligation to let them be heard.

I ask that you do the right thing and give these people the attention they deserve, and are indeed crying out for.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Wonderlane via Flickr

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57 Signatures

  • Ana Maria Mainhardt Carpes
  • Ellen McCann
  • Darlene Roepke
  • Lynn Juozilaitis
  • Ann Blank
  • tam O
  • Mary-Carol Gales
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